Introduction

This essay is a translation from Dutch into English of a paper I wrote during my bachelor’s degree. It does not contain many novel insights, but does succeed in being informative so I decided to publish it after being encouraged by a friend. I have not taken the effort to double-check my sources to confirm the reading I made at the time of writing in 2012. Hence I apologize for any errors due to any misreading of the source material and the potential errors which might result from translating the text. If at a later point I do decide to double-check the sources I will indicate this. In addition, I apologize for any stylistic error or lack of elegance resulting from the translation process.

In this essay I want to make an inquiry into how The Barber’s Speech from Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 classic film The Great Dictator relates to his time and how this has influenced the discourse’s persuasiveness. To this end I will first describe the storyline of the film and then examine its background by looking at the production process. Afterwards, I will discuss the place The Great Dictator takes within Chaplin’s oeuvre and end with a discussion on Chaplin’s political views. This essay was written with the assumption that the reader is acquainted with the concepts of classical rhetoric. Hence no effort is made to give a comprehensive overview of the concepts employed.

Background

The story of The Great Dictator

In 1940, seven years after Adolf Hitler’s and the NSDAP won the German elections, the Second World War broke out in earnest several months after the 1939 invasion of Poland. That same year Charlie Chaplin published The Great Dictator which he hadn’t just written, produced and directed, but in which he also played both the protagonist and antagonist (Chaplin, 1940b).

The film is a parody of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime. He takes on the guise of Adenoid Hynkel, dictator of the nation of Tomainia, but also that of a Jewish barber. Hitler’s ally, Mussolini, played by Jack Oakie, also features under the name of Benzino Napaloni, leader of Bacteria (Chaplin 1940b).

The story begins with the Jewish barber fighting as a solder in the trenches during “the” World War. After several antics he encounters an exhausted Tomainian pilot carrying an important message. Together they fly off to deliver it, but the plane slowly runs out of fuels while the fatigued pilot repeatedly faints. When finally there is no more fuel the plane crashes. Both survive, but while the pilot informed that the war has been lost by fellow soldiers coming to his aid, the Jewish barber has become the victim of debilitating amnesia (Chaplin 1940b).

Twenty years later the Jewish barber returns to his barbershop in the ghetto, unaware of the many changes which have taken place within Tomainia. During his hospitalization an anti-Semitic fascist regime, led by Adeonoid Hynkel, has taken power. Just moments after his return he comes into confrontation with Hynkel’s ‘Stormtroopers’. Hannah, a Jewish woman who also lives in the ghetto, helps him in avoiding them. Nevertheless, the Stormtroopers catch him and attempt to lynch the Jewish barber. Only the arrival of their commander, who does not approve of the practice, saves his life. By coincident the officer, Commander Shultz, turns out to be the pilot which was saved by the Jewish barber. Despite Schutlz’s surprise that his saviour is a Jew he assures the barber that this will be the last time that he will be harassed (Chaplin, 1940b).

In the meantime Hynkel prepares the invasion of Osterlich in secret as part of his plan to become ‘dictator of the world’. However, Hynkel is not able to finance his plans, since the banker he has approached is a Jew dissatisfied with his anti-Semitic policies. Hynkel asks Schultz to unleash his Stormtroopers on the Jewish ghetto in retaliation, but the officer strongly advices against this. As punishment he is sent to a concentration camp and the raid will take place regardless (Chaplin, 1940b).

After the raid the Jewish barber finds out that Schultz has gone into hiding in the ghetto. However, both are eventually arrested and sent to a concentration camp (Chaplin, 1940b).

Right before Hynkel’s planned invasion of Osterlich it is revealed that Benzino Napolini, Bacteria’s dictator, has stationed his troops at the Osterlich border. Unable to start with the invasion until these have been removed, Hynkel invites Napolini to Tomainia. The visit ends in a treaty where Napolini orders the demobilization of his troops while Hynkel agrees not to annex Osterlich. A promise he does not intend to keep (Chaplin, 1940b).

Some time later Schultz and the Jewish barber have escaped from the concentration camp disguised as Tomainian officers. At the same time Hynkel happens to be hunting near the escaped prisoners. His very own Stormtroopers run into him, confuse him for the runaway Jewish barber and promptly arrest him. The real Jewish barber is likewise assumed to be Adenoid Hynkel and Schultz is presumed to have been pardoned. The invasion of Osterlich has, however, already commenced by this time (Chaplin, 1940b).

Following the Tomainian triumph the Jewish barber has to give a victory speech in the newly conquered Osterlich where Hynkel planned to announce his plans for world dictatorship. Instead, he gives “The Barber’s Speech” where he argues in favour of the exact opposite of what Hynkel represents: democracy, freedom, solidarity and humanity (Chaplin, 1940b).

The making-of The Great Dictator

The initial concept of The Great Dictator didn’t come from Chaplin himself, but from the writer Konrad Bercovici. He had written a small text for Chaplin in the hope of inspiring him to produce an anti-fascist film. Others had already encouraged him to do so, but nobody offered such a concrete layout for a story-line. However, after The Great Dictator‘s release Chaplin refused to compensate Berovici for his contribution or even to acknowledge it. Berovici sued Chaplin for plagiarism and they eventually agreed to settle the lawsuit (Lynn, 1997, p. 395).

Besides the story of Berovici’s lawsuit the film ran into several other problems. One important factor was the political climate in the USA and the UK at the moment that it became known that Chaplin would produce a film about Hitler. The US was dominated by an isolationist sentiment, while the British still put their trust in a policy of appeasement towards Hitler (Cole, 2010).

There was a fear of Chaplin’s movie contributing to the cooling of relations with Germany. The American and British censorship boards closely followed the developments surrounding Chaplin’s production. The American Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors Association (MPPDA) was challenged with an additional challenge. The MPPDA was – like the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) – not a government agency, but an organisation owned by the American film industry. However, industry ownership rested on the condition that self-regulation of decision-making which was acceptable to the government (Cole, 2010).

In addition, there was Charlie Chaplin’s tendency to be an obstacle to himself. Chaplin was a difficult director to work with due to his explosive, perfectionistic and controlling personality. An anecdote on his movie City Lights is illustrative: Chaplin repeated a particular scene for weeks on end where the Tramp was offered a flower by a blind girl due to Virginia Cherrill’s inability to enact the scene in exactly the manner which Chaplin wanted it to happen. Later in the production he fired her, because she asked if she could leave earlier for an appointment at the hairdresser only to take her back several weeks later (Lynn, 1997, p. 325 – 327). In the same way he frustrated, fired and rehired several actors and employees during the production of The Great Dictator (Lynn, 1997, p. 386-425).

Chaplin also decided to shoot large parts anew after the film was actually already finished and kept on editing scenes until thirteen days before the premiere (Mehran, 2004b, p. 33-38). The nervosity which led him to this course of action has been explained as the result of three sources of pressure. First, The Great Dictator was his first “talkie” – something Chaplin had tried to evade for years. Second, the film also meant the destruction of his iconic Tramp character, because he was attributed a nationality, religion and profession. Third, the MPPDA had constantly monitored the development of his project and isolationists and Nazi sympathisers regarded it with suspicion (Kamin, 2004, p. 5-9; Lynn, 1997, 320-321, p. 360; Mehran, 2004b, p. 38).

The Great Dictator and Chaplin’s oeuvre

Together with Modern Times and the dance of the rolls in Gold RushThe Great Dictator is one of the works which has inscribed Chaplin in the contemporary collective memory. Within the context of his oeuvre this work forms a clear rupture. As mentioned before, it was his first talkie, and at the same time the last movie featuring the Tramp – or as some say a Tramp-like figure (Kamin, 2004, p. 8; Mehran, 2004b, p. 38). It also was the end of Chaplin’s status as a big movie star in the USA. The productions which followed were confronted with varying difficulties and were not well-received. Moreover, Chaplin no longer refrained from openly voicing his political opinion in The Great Dictator, a development which started in Modern Times.

The film is marked by several themes which recur in the rest of Chaplin’s works. First, the character of Jewish Barber is modelled on the Tramp. Like the Tramp he represented the common man, but this time he was situated by means of a specific identity (Kamin, 2004, p. 8; Lynn, 1997, p. 322). The barber’s profession itself has been a recurring feature as well. Chaplin worked on scenes containing barbers both in his own movies as those of others. It was a theme with a personal connection to Chaplin’s youth when he was shaven bald due to a fungal infection (Mehran, 2004a, p. 43-49).

Chaplin and Politics

Chaplin has been characterised as a “natural Marxist” and I believe this is the best way to view his attitude towards politics. He notably lacked consistency in his viewpoints. For example, despite his left-wing opinions he did not hesitate to live in full accordance to his status as a multimillionaire. In 1932, during a visit to England, where he stayed in a luxurious suite of a prestigious hotel, Chaplin was invited by Lady Astor for a lunch at which other prominent figures, including then Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, would be present. Everyone was asked to give a speech after lunch on “what he would do if he had ‘the power of Mussolini to help England in her present crisis.'” Chaplin’s speech voiced his sympathy for several opposed ideas such as a libertarian plea for a small government, but also for the then still popular idea of the planned economy (Lynn, 1997, p. 347).

He was capable of turning 180 degrees on his political positions. After the German–Soviet Non-aggression pact Chaplin became, together with other Communist and Soviet sympathisers, a pacifist while he earlier had cherished the hope that the USSR would lead the resistance against Nazi-Germany. A few years later he again switched opinion when Germany invaded the USSR. Now he pleaded for a “second front” against Hitler (Lynn, 1997, p. 399, p. 419-423). This switching of opinions was, however, not effortless. Especially the news of the non-aggression pact, an event which shocked the whole of left-wing America and brought it into a temporary crisis, was difficult for him. Chaplin even considered referring to Stalin in The Barber’s Speech, but was convinced by two of the employees at his film studio to refrain from this (Lynn, 1997, p. 400; Scheide & Mehran, 2004, p.88-89, p. 96).

Another example of the influence of Chaplin’s political bias is his meeting with Oswald Mosley, a British politician who was member of several party, but became famous as the leader of the British Union of Fascists. Their meeting in 1932 in France happened during the same year in which Mosley founded the party, but considering Chaplin’s aversion to fascism the meeting probably happened before this event. Initially Chaplin described him as “one of the most promising young men in English politics“. Years later in his autobiography he looked back at the same meeting and claimed that he found Mosley a strange and even slightly frightening man (Lynn, 1997, p. 350).

While Chaplin wasn’t very critical towards the Left this wasn’t the case the other way around. Marxist film critics were negative about Chaplin’s work for varying reasons, but mostly because the film did not sufficiently emphasize class struggle (Lynn, 1997, p. 360-362).

Analysis

Rhetorical situation

Of the three branches of classical rhetoric The Barber’s Speech could belong to two: deliberative (political) oratory and epideictic (ceremonial) oratory. Since Chaplin meant to point the Anglo-American public to the danger of fascism with his film, the label of deliberative oratory seems to fit best. The question remains which place ethos and pathos take in this oration. I will continue with a short discussion of the two.

Who speaks? – Ethos and The Barber’s Speech

There is only a thin veil between the fictitious world of Tomainia, Osterlich and Bacteria and contemporary reality in The Great Dictator. The story’s satirical nature thus prompts the question: who is performing this oration?

First, there is Chaplin who speaks as an actor-director, making a political film and as such also a political oration. His logical counterpart is the Jewish barber who tries to bring a lost nation back to the right path.

However, is there also a third speaker? Some critics of the speech have claimed that Chaplin / the Jewish barber is out of character (Kamin, 2004, p. 9). One has to admit that the passionate oration does not seem to fit with the calm, reserved, and somewhat clumsy nature of the Jewish barber. Moreover, in the speech he refers to the Gospel According to Luke despite his Jewish background. One could say that there is a third speaker who transcends both Chaplin as the Jewish barber. This third character remains part of the story of The Great Dictator, but again transcends the particularity of the Jewish barber. Like the Tramp, the third speaker represents the universal. It is the reasoned voice of the universal whereas the Tramp was its mute body.

In the rest of the analysis I will refer to “Chaplin / the Jewish barber” when speaking of the person who performs the oration.

Who listens? – Pathos and The Barber’s Speech

The Barber’s Speech does not have a single audience, but three. First, the Tomainian audience consisting of the victorious soldiers and the political and military top of the regime. This audience has to be convinced that not fascism, but its alternative is the right way for society. Perhaps that the soldiers are part of the crowd cheering at the end of the speech, though this isn’t certain. The Tomainian elite is not seen off after Garbitsch, one of Hynkel’s ministers who announces the speech, disappears from view. It is improbably that they cheer on together with the crowd after hearing the oration.

The second is the audience of the “innocents”, the Jewish refugees and the citizens of Osterlich. Chaplin / the Jewish barber has to convince them that he does not have bad intentions.

Third, there is his 1940 Anglo-American audience. They first have to be convinced of the wicked nature of Hitler’s regime and in addition that Chaplin / the Jewish barber can offer a hopeful alternative.

So far the discussion of the rhetorical situation. Below the structure and the techniques of The Barber’s Speech will be discussed.

Structure and techniques

The first reviews of The Great Dictator in 1940 were very critical of the speech. One of the points of criticism was that it was badly structured (Kamin, 2004, p. 9). At first sight The Barber’s Speech indeed does seem like an oration lacking structure. I will analyse the speech in two ways. First, in the classical manner. Second, by means of a coding which I applied to it.

The speech starts with Garbitsch announcing Chaplin / the Jewish barber, presumed to be Hynkel. He does this through a short introductory speech of his own which is worth quoting in full here:

Corona veniet delectis. Victory shall come to the worthy. Today, democracy, liberty and equality are words to fool the people. No nation can progress with such ideas. They stand in the way of action. Therefore, we abolish them. In the future, each man will serve the state with absolute obedience. Let him who refuses beware! Citizenship will be taken away from all Jews and non-Aryans. They are inferior and therefore enemies of the state. It is the duty of all true Aryans to hate and despise them. This nation is annexed to the Tomainian Empire, and the people will obey the laws bestowed on us by our great leader, the Dictator of Tomainia, the conqueror of Osterlich, the future Emperor of the World!

Near the end of this announcement the camera switches to Chaplin / the Jewish barber with Schultz at his side. When Garbitsch is done Schultz whispers to his companion: “you must speak”. Panicked he responds: “I can’t”, to which Schultz replies “You must. It’s our only hope.” After repeating “hope” in bewonderment he gets up and walks to the stage. Garbitsch greets him through a Hitler salute, but Chaplin / the Jewish barber merely gives a polite bow in response. After a moment of silence behind the microphones he begins without holding back: “I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an emperor” (Chaplin, 1940a). This is said in a soft, calm, and deliberate tone. It is said against all three audiences: “his” army and the military and political leadership of the regime, the citizens of vanquished Osterlich, and the American cinematic audience. We can be almost certain that this Exordium is a surprise for these first two groups and that their attention has been captured. For the American spectator it is not the phrase itself which is engrossing, but it is the question how Chaplin / the Jewish barber will be able to save himself from this situation which keeps them occupied.

Chaplin / the Jewish barber continues with attempting to make his audience open and sympathetic to his message. He continues his opening by specifying “[t]hat’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone” (Chaplin, 1940a). With this statement the Osterlichian citizenry and the American audience will certainly be convinced by this, but the Tomainian forces and leaders will no doubt be shocked at hearing this. In the case of the Tomainian elite this is not a huge problem, but it could become a risk when he alienates the soldiery.

This oration does not just change the order of narratio, propositio and argumentatio, but they in fact run through each other. Concerning these three parts I would like to take a short detour to my coding. After a careful reading of the text I realized that it could be seen in a different, additional manner. Instead of a speech consisting of successive parts, one should see The Barber’s Speech as a succession of “waves”. Chaplin / the Jewish barber makes three kind of statements in the oration: statements on human nature, statements on humanity’s current state, and statements on what should be done. These statements follow each other in numerous waves. These are respectively represented by the following three phrases from the first paragraph:

”We all want to help one another.”

“…we have lost the way.”

“The way of life can be free and beautiful…”

– (Chaplin, 1940a)

I have coded the speech based on this principle (see Annex). One could say that the first kind of statement roughly corresponds to the argumentatio, the second with the narratio, and the third with the propositio. After the coding the wave-pattern of the speech where Chaplin / the Jewish barber concerns himself with a particular kind of statement, follows up with others kinds and then returns to one already discussed.

If one sees the recording of the speech another aspect becomes clear. Despite its wave-like pattern the oration does not have high and low points where one would expect them to be. Instead there is a continuing crescendo starting in a soft and moderate manner to a wild and enthusiastic end. This also explains, in my opinion, why The Barber’s Speech manages to be convincing despite its aberrant structure. Chaplin / the Jewish barber reiterates the same message repeatedly, but each time in a more convinced and forceful manner. In this way the public, which initially might not be very receptive, is being roused more and more. 

The narratio in this case does not correspond to any a precise set of real events. As such there is no exact account of events, but rather a general description of certain “truths” as perceived by Chaplin / the Jewish barber. “Greed has poisoned men’s souls” might refer to the Great Depression. Naturally this works perfectly for the Jewish barber since Chaplin has offered him the perfect audience: the people of Osterlich. The Tomainian top might be less convinced, but their reaction is not noted. For the real American public Chaplin / the Jewish barber offers an ostentatiously abstract story which they can apply to events in their own world. However, the reception of his film in the USA has shown that he didn’t manage to convince everyone (Kamin, 2004, p. 9).

The argumentatio is, like the narratio and the speech in its entirety, fairly abstract. Chaplin does not just want to convince a public consisting of Tomainians and Osterlichians, but also an Anglo-American – and perhaps even global – audience. He subsequently focuses mainly on emotion, on pathos. Following Braet (2007, p. 40-47), I would claim that most of the arguments are made based on values. However, two times another argument is made. First, when an appeal is made to the authority of the Gospel According to Luke. Second, when in the last paragraph Chaplin / the Jewish barber performs a refutatio by stating that: By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill their promise. They never will!”. The interesting thing about this phrase is that it in fact belongs both to the narratio and the argumentatio. In addition, by contrast to the other arguments it does not belong to the statements on human nature, but to those on the state of the present world. Though one could claim that a statement is being made about the nature of dictators.

Last there is Chaplin / the Jewish barber’s propositio. Notable here is that this does not plead for a return to the state of things before Hynkel, but pleads for a wholly new world. Here Chaplin’s left-wing politics come to the fore, especially in the last paragraph and the closing phrase where Chaplin / the Jewish barber cries out passionately:

“Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. (…) Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!” – (Chaplin, 1940a)

One could effortlessly supplement or replace this paragraph with the refrain, or many other passages, of the Internationale:

“C’est la lutte finale

Groupons-nous, et demain

L’Internationale

Sera le genre humain”[1] – (Pottier, 1871)

Moreover, one could add the last phrase of the Communist Manifesto – “Proletarier aller Länder, vereinigt euch!”[2] – to The Barber’s Speech final exhortation (Engels & Marx, 1948).

Figures of speech

Here follows a short discussion of the figures of speech in The Barber’s Speech. The passages have been selected based on their function within the oration.

In the second paragraph, Chaplin / the Jewish barber uses a personification to transform “greed” from an impersonal force in society, or a character treat of people, into an evil actor which has plunged the world in the miserable state of affairs in which it now finds itself:

“Greed has poisoned men’s souls ; has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.” – (Chaplin, 1940a)

This same paragraph makes use of enumeration, a summation of words, groups of words or phrases. After the misdeeds of greed have been covered, also in the form of an enumeration, the speech continues with the misdeeds “we” have inflicted on ourselves:

We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge as made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little.” – (Chaplin, 1940a)

After which an alternative is proposed:

“More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.” – (Chaplin, 1940a)

In the third paragraph we can give an example of a proof, a visual and penetrative description of an event. Chaplin / the Jewish barber refers to the inhumanity of “the system”:

“Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people” – (Chaplin, 1940a)

After this paragraph the focus shifts to the soldiers. Chaplin / the Jewish barber implores them not to capitulate to Hynkel’s fascist regime. He makes use of a distinctive tripartite enumeration:

“Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men—machine men with machine minds and machine hearts!” – (Chaplin, 1940a)

Instead he offers them something they can fight for in the fifth paragraph: liberty. He does this by means of contrasting it with slavery. This figure of speech is the antithesis:

“Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!” – (Chaplin, 1940a)

In the last paragraph Chaplin / the Jewish barber warns them. He employs an anticipation. He runs ahead of what will be said, not by the public or by him, but by the world’s dictators who offer the same prospect he just made:

“By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill their promise.” – (Chaplin, 1940a)

After this final paragraph, after the continuing crescendo during the whole of the speech, he ends with a climax, the summit which is by now a self-evident truthful injunction:

Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite! – (Chaplin, 1940a)

Conclusion

The Great Dictator is an unmistakable cinematic classic from the first half of the twentieth century. A product of his time and of Chaplin as a person. The first fifty years of the twentieth century was a time where ideological battles were fought in all their fury and Chaplin was a person who wanted to take a stand. The minutely choreographed Barber’s Speech is the moment in Chaplin’s career where he dared to reveal his willingness to do so without restraint on the silver screen. 

This had a strong influence on the persuasive power of the speech. Whereas the Jewish barber was given an ideal public, Chaplin did not have this luxury. In Great Britain, where war had been declared against Hitler by the time it premiered, the film became a great success. In the United States the reception was more lukewarm due to its continuing isolationist sentiment.

Until this day The Barber’s Speech has a certain quality which we are tempted to characterize as naive. The hope for a world which is not here yet, but will come: “The way of life can be free and beautiful” (Chaplin, 1940a). Perhaps, however, it is us who are cynics and this faith is exactly what we need today.

Bibliography

Braet, A., (2007). Retorische Kritiek: Hoe Beoordeel Je Overtuigingskracht. Den Haag: Sdu Uitgevers.

Chaplin, C., (1940). The Barber’s Speech. Hollywood: United Artists. Retrieved from: http://home.datacomm.ch/rezamusic/chaplin_speech.html

Chaplin, C., (1940). The Great Dictator. Hollywood: United Artists.

Cole, R. (2010). Anglo-American Anti-fascist Film Propaganda in a Time of Neutrality: The Great Dictator, 1940. Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, 21, 137-152.

Engels, F. & Marx, K. (1848). Het Communistisch Manifest. Retrieved from: http://www.marxists.org/deutsch/archiv/marx-engels/1848/manifest/index.htm

Frank, S., Hooman, M. & Dan, K. (2004). Chaplin: The Dictator and the Tramp. London: British Film Institute.

Kamin, D (2004). ‘Who Is This Man? (Who Looks Like Charlie Chaplin)’. In Scheide, F. & Mehran, H. (Ed.). Chaplin: The Dictator and the Tramp (pp. 5-12). London: British Film Institute.

Lynn, K. (1997). Charlie Chaplin and His Times. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Mehran, H. (2004). Chaplin on the Cutting Edge. In Scheide, F. & Mehran, H. (Ed.). Chaplin: The Dictator and the Tramp (pp. 43-49). London: British Film Institute.

Mehran, H. (2004). Second Thoughts on The Great Dictator. In Scheide, F. & Mehran, H. (Ed.). Chaplin: The Dictator and the Tramp (pp. 33-38). London: British Film Institute.

Pottier, E. (1871). L’Internationale. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L’internationale

Scheide, F. & Mehran, H. (2004). The Great Dictator in Historical Context. In Scheide, F. & Mehran, H. (Ed.). Chaplin: The Dictator and the Tramp (pp. 72-103). London: British Film Institute.

[1] The traditional British version translates this verse as follows:

“So comrades, come rally,

And the last fight let us face.

The Internationale

Unites the human race.” 

[2] Traditionally translated as “Workers of the world, unite!”.

Annex: Coding of the The Barber’s Speech

The colour coding of the text is as follows: orange represents statements on human nature affinative with the argumentatio, green stands for statements on humanity’s current state corresponding with the naratio, and blue identifies statements on what should be done which is equivalent to the propositio. Red parentheses have been put around the phrases which have been picked as primary examples.

I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black men, white. [We all want to help one another.] Human beings are like that. We want to live by each others’ happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. [The way of life can be free and beautiful,] [but we have lost the way.]

Greed has poisoned men’s souls; has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge as made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all.

Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say “Do not despair.” The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder! Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men—machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have a love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural.

Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it’s written “the kingdom of God is within man”, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power.

Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill their promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

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